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Former President Ronald Regan said during his 1984 reelection campaign that Southern California’s Orange County is the place where “good Republicans go to die.”

For decades, the wealthy, suburban county – about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles – has been a conservative stronghold in a state that has become increasingly liberal. But since the 2018 midterm elections, the so-called “Orange Curtain” has come down and Democrats have made huge gains in an area once dominated by Republicans.

The shift speaks to the GOP’s ever-shrinking foothold in the Golden State. Just recently, the number of registered Democrats surpassed the number of registered Republicans in Orange County for the first time since the Watergate era, with the county Registrar of Voters – as of Wednesday – having 548,952 Democrats compared with just 548,095 Republicans.

While not an enormous advantage, it does mark a drastic shift from the Republican Party’s halcyon days of the early 1990s, when it enjoyed a 22-percentage point advantage over Democrats, and mirrors a trend seen in recent years across California’s more conservative areas.

In the last few years, neighboring San Diego County flipped to the Democrats and, on election night last November, California’s 25th Congressional District went Democrat for the first time since 1993 when upstart politician Katie Hill defeated incumbent Republican Steve Knight. The 2018 midterm elections also saw all of Orange County’s districts go Democratic as well as most of San Diego County – turning the state’s congressional delegation, and statehouse, an even deeper shade of blue.

Republicans now hold only seven of the state’s 53 congressional seats, and both seats in the Senate are held by Democrats.

“We have seen since 2016, and even before that, that we’re becoming bluer and bluer,” Ada Briceño, the chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, told Fox News. “We know that trend is going to continue. The changes in our demographics are going to ensure that and the fact that we have activists and leaders on the ground working extremely hard to make sure that we are moving and speaking and enamoring people.”

Both Democratic and Republican leaders have cited the changing demographics and voter base in the region as one of the main reasons for the shift in political alignment in recent years.

The immigrant population of Orange County, for example, grew five times as fast as the general population between 1980 and 2000 and, despite a slowing influx of new immigrants, the region’s Asian and Latino populations are likely to continue on an upward trajectory thanks to the children of immigrant families born in the United States.

In California’s 48th Congressional District, which last fall saw longtime Republican fixture Dana Rohrabacher lose to Democrat Harley Rouda, the Latino population went from 38,803 in 1980 to 145,585 in 2017 – or from 8 percent of the district’s population to 21 percent.

Similarly, in the state’s 45th Congressional, where Democrat Katie Porter won last November against incumbent Republican Mimi Walters, the Asian-American population skyrocketed from 14,528 in 1980, or 4.4 percent, to almost a quarter of the district’s total population in 2017 with 175,540.

Republican leaders in California admit that they need to do a better job of fielding candidates that appeal to a diversifying voter base, but say that Democrats are playing “identity politics” and that eventually the pendulum will swing back toward the right.

“The Democrats are really good at playing identity politics, but identity politics is a sugar high,” Tony Krvaric, the chair of the Republican Party of San Diego County, told Fox News. “Eventually people are going to wake up and realize Democrats have done nothing for them.”

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10 Comments
  • Eric Martin says:

    Why not? The whole state has turned into one big shit hole, let them wallow in it. They’ve got no one to blame but themselves. The smart ones are fleeing as well they should.

    • jerseybadger says:

      I have news for you Eric a lot of us who are stuck here are smart but we’re SS or have jobs that don’t pay big money we would love to move we just can not afford it.So Eric stuff you’r snippy attitude

      • Dar says:

        Jerseybadger – we can’t afford not to go. It’s been said, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Do you have friends or relatives out of state that can help you? I’m really hoping to get out, not as soon as I’d like, but things are going to get worse in CA. The Dems are eventually going to make California a sanctuary state. Who will pay for all those coming in? I think everyone knows the answer. Sad.

        • Oh No says:

          Unforunately, I can honestly say, its not all smart ones leaving. I live in a State that borders California. They are coming here in droves, and the homeless people are showing up in busses , no lie. They bus therm here to pass them on to us. My city has gone downhill fast. Many of the new residents are selfish, rude entitled idiots. They are shifting our politics and only came here because they could get more for their money and pay less taxes. The funny thing is they vote Dem. So eventually when they take completely over, the exact same bullshit they left behind will be their reality. It is really sad to watch you town and your State deteriorate.

      • Annabel says:

        Jersey…..I moved from CA a few years back and found it far less expensive in Florida. I used to love to go to Mexico but when those severed heads appeared hanging from the bridge my kids said no more. That was devastating because Mexico was my escape and I have many friends there. Now I can hop over to Spain instead which is also less expensive than California.

  • LST says:

    Thanks to the spics.

  • Eric Martin says:

    @jerseybadger. I stand corrected. Mom always said to think before I speak. In my haste to make a comment I did not take into account you and the good people in your position. My apologies to you sir.

  • Carma says:

    Tremendous voter fraud in 2018 and the part of the Democrats. The next election will prove the orange county and San Diego county did not flip for good. We will be watching for voter fraud, fake ballots and dead voters.

  • Blkojo says:

    Texas is approaching purple. By 2024 it could vote mostly blue. Sad but true.

  • Michelle says:

    They make gains everywhere the “undocumented” Illegals are allowed to infiltrate. That’s the way of life there. California has become the cesspool of the nation, regardless of its notion that it’s the leading example of how the country should be run.

  • CF
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